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Bullying and harassment is going unreported fears the Royal College of Nursing

9 Mar 2018

The Royal College of Nursing in the North West has expressed concerns that bullying and harassment incidents are potentially going unreported and that staff are going unsupported.

Feedback in the national NHS staff survey highlights an increase in the number of staff, many of which will be nursing and healthcare staff, have felt bullied or harassed in the workplace.   This increase, does not reflect the number of cases reported to the Royal College of Nursing over the past 12 months, with little increase in the number of cases compared to the previous year.

The NHS Staff survey is conducted annually and these findings are based on the survey carried out from September to November 2017.  The results have been published this week. 

Regional Director of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Estephanie Dunn, was alarmed by the figures that were reported – especially with some of the North West’s Trusts coming out amongst the highest in the UK in terms of the increase.

Commenting on the matter, Estephanie said: “After digesting the results of the survey I am surprised at the increase given that we haven’t seen a significant uplift in the number of cases from our members.

“Given this, I can only surmise that these situations are not being reported and I want to emphasise to staff that being made to feel uncomfortable at work is not acceptable and this needs to be reported immediately before it escalates. The RCN is there to support and advise members and if you are being made to feel unable to report, says a lot about the culture of the organisation.”

The report also highlights and increase in the number of staff reporting violet attacks from patients which again, is at an all-time high with a 15 per cent rise nationally on the previous year. 

“Nurses, alongside all healthcare staff, work extremely hard to provide care, often in difficult circumstances and do not deserve to face such difficulties at work.  This contributes to them feeling undervalued at a time when many nurses are leaving the profession and pay is not keeping up with the cost of living,” said Estephanie. 

The RCN recently launched its Cultural Ambassador Programme at the Walton Centre in Liverpool and is hoping to roll it out amongst other Trusts in the region.  The programme aims to work with Trusts who have particular cultural and deep rooted discrimination and works with the employer and its staff to make positive change and create understanding.

“We are proud of the scheme we have running with the Walton Centre and are already in the early stages of engaging with other Trusts in the region about adopting the programme,” said Estephanie. 

“It’s already seeing positive results and we hope to see other Trusts take on the programme and work in partnership with the RCN to create positive cultural change.”

The Royal College of Nursing is available 24/7 365 days of the year for members who need advice and support.  Nurses and healthcare assistants can join the RCN by visiting www.rcn.org.uk 

Notes to Editors

  1. http://www.nhsstaffsurveys.com/Page/1056/Home/NHS-Staff-Survey-2017/Results of the NHS Staff Survey, which also breaks down results to Trust level can be found at: